Friday, January 8, 2016

Hillary News & Views 1.8: Endorsements, AAPI for Hillary, Wall St., Nuclear Arms, Paid Leave, Autism

Today’s Hillary News & Views begins with a slew of major endorsements, including the first primary endorsement ever given by a century-old organization.

Here’s a link to the full endorsement from Planned Parenthood. I’ve shared some highlights:
There’s no question: Hillary Clinton holds the strongest record on reproductive rights of all presidential contenders in not just this election, but in American history. She doesn’t just support women’s health — she has been a proactive leader on expanding access to women’s health care. In fact, no other 2016 candidate has shown such strong, lifelong commitment to the issues Planned Parenthood Action Fund cares about.
We live in an era where access to birth control, abortion, and services at Planned Parenthood are under unprecedented attack. With so much at stake, we can’t afford to have a president who continues these attacks — or who won’t stand strong and fight against them, no matter what.
We need Hillary Clinton, women’s health champion, in the White House.

Hillary Clinton on Reproductive Health Equity & Access to Coverage

Hillary Clinton has also worked to end discrimination in our health care systems so that all people can have a fair chance at leading healthy lives. As first lady, she created a plan for universal health coverage that many credit as the root of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — a law that Clinton praised for prohibiting health insurers from denying coverage because of sexual orientation or gender identity. Clinton has vowed to build on the ACA, which has helped nearly 8.2 million adult women gain coverage (including no-copay birth control) and has been especially important for women of color, who accounted for 53% of uninsured women before it went into effect.
Promoting health equity doesn’t end at our country’s borders. As secretary of state, Clinton’s unwavering international advocacy for women and girls included efforts to ensure their access to reproductive health care, as well as foreign policy that aims to make women and girls central partners in achieving human rights goals.
And a sidebar with three important facts about Clinton’s history of advocacy:

3 Things You Might Not Know About Hillary Clinton

  1. She introduced 8 pieces of legislation with the purpose of expanding and protecting access to reproductive health care — no other candidate has introduced any.
  2. She's the most outspoken and frequent supporter of Planned Parenthood — and the only candidate to speak up for Planned Parenthood at the debates.
  3. She's the only candidate who has testified before a Congressional committee on how abortion is an essential part of reproductive health care.
Clinton released a statement about the endorsement:
“As a lifelong Planned Parenthood supporter, I’m honored to have the endorsement of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. There has never been a more important election when it comes to women’s health and reproductive rights—and Planned Parenthood’s patients, providers, and advocates across the country are a crucial line of defense against the dangerous agenda being advanced by every Republican candidate for president.
“This week was a jarring reminder of what’s at stake in 2016. For the first time ever, the United States House and Senate passed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal the Affordable Care Act. Thankfully, President Obama will exercise his veto power to stop the Republicans from cutting off women, men, and young people from vital health care services at Planned Parenthood—including cancer screenings, well-woman exams, and STI and HIV tests—and taking away health coverage from 18 million people. Any of the Republican candidates will proudly sign that bill into law if they win. We can’t let that happen.
“We need a president who has what it takes to stop Republicans from defunding Planned Parenthood and taking away a woman’s right to basic health care. If I’m elected, I will be that president. I’ve fought for women and families my entire life, and I refuse to let anyone rip away the progress we’ve made. I will defend against attacks on reproductive health care, and protect access to affordable contraception and safe and legal abortion across the country. I will fight to ensure access to reproductive health care regardless of income, national origin, race, or ZIP code. And I will be a champion for women and families—just as Planned Parenthood has been for nearly a century.”

Clinton picked up some more endorsements yesterday.

ABC News reports:
The chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus - North Carolina Rep. G.K. Butterfield - is backing Hillary Clinton for president.
Butterfield's office confirmed Thursday the congressman's endorsement of the Democratic presidential candidate. The lawmaker announced his endorsement in a column on The Grio news website.
Butterfield wrote the former first lady and secretary of state "has the record, foresight, and passion to improve the lives of millions of African-Americans." Butterfield says Clinton has spoken out about systematic racism in the country and backs criminal justice reforms. He also cited her efforts to promote voting rights and economic recovery for the black community.
Politico reports:
“I’ve endorsed Hillary Clinton, and I've also helped provide advice on defense and foreign policy issues," said Leon Panetta, who served as both director of the Central Intelligence Agency and as defense secretary in the Obama administration, in an interview on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports."
"I think that what this country needs at a very dangerous time is responsible leadership in the real world," Panetta continued. "Not in a fantasy world, but in the real world, and she is somebody who has that experience, and for that reason, that's why I support her."
"She understands the world we live in, she understands the complications of it," he said. "Of course, you know, look, going back to Republican administrations as well as Democratic administrations, there is a responsibility for both the good things that happened as well as the bad things that happened. But in the end the real question is, does someone have the ability to be able to deal with other world leaders, to be able to represent our national security interests in dealing with those countries and has the credibility to be able to engage in that kind of world?"
Clinton has launched Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for Hillary.

NBC News reports:
As Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton embarks on two days of fundraising in California, the former secretary of state is also expected to appear at a free organizing event Thursday morning for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, an increasingly potent voting bloc that both parties are trying to woo.
AAPI for Hillary, which will "engage, energize and organize" Asian-American and Pacific-Islander voters, is expected to begin at 11:45 a.m. PST in San Gabriel, Calif., a city of roughly 40,000 in Los Angeles County whose population is 60 percent Asian, according to the U.S. Census. Hillary for America director of AAPI outreach Lisa Changadveja told NBC News that a host of elected officials and political figures are expected to attend, including U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), who will introduce Clinton, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, and San Gabriel Mayor Jason Pu.
The campaign also expects to announce a number of endorsements around the launch of AAPI for Hillary, Changadveja said.
"The Asian American Pacific Islander community has been very supportive of Hillary in the past and continues to be a big supporter of her campaign for president this year," she said.
Los Angeles Times reports:
Jeanne Serrano traveled nearly 400 miles from the Bay Area suburb of Vallejo to San Gabriel to hear Hillary Clinton's pitch to woo Asian American voters. When the 46-year-old attorney walked out of the hotel ballroom after the Democratic presidential hopeful's speech Thursday, she was nearly in tears.
Clinton had devoted time to calling for immigration reform, and she drew some of her strongest applause when she vowed to shorten wait times for those seeking visas.
“I have a brother that we have been waiting more than 15 years and still he is not here, he is the last person we have in the Philippines,” Serrano said. “To hear her talk about it — I was so fired up.”
It was exactly the kind of connection Clinton's campaign was looking to make at the San Gabriel Hilton in the official kickoff of an effort to cement support from the fastest-growing racial group in the nation. While California is considered a lock for Democrats next fall, Asian voters in swing states such as Nevada and Virginia could make the difference. The event was aimed as much at solidifying votes of those in the crowd as recruiting volunteers to help sway other Asian voters across the country.
The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports:
For Hillary Clinton, the San Gabriel Valley didn’t just provide a politically safe spot to launch her effort to attract Asian-American voters and donors, it also provided a link to her family’s past.
Her late mother went to high school in Alhambra, she told a crowd of hundreds of supporters Thursday afternoon at an event at the San Gabriel Hilton launching Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for Hillary.
“When I think about this part of California, the first thing I think about is my mom, and how kind people were to her here when her own family was not,” she said.
“I know how important family is to all of you,” she continued. “That is how I see our country. I see us when we are at our best, as lifting up families, helping families be strong, helping families get the support they need to do the best they can for their children and for their parents.”
Clinton focused much of her speech on how she would support families, particularly seniors. She would offer tax credits to defray the cost of caring for older relatives, expand Social Security to reduce penalties on people who temporarily stopped working to care for their families, and fund Alzheimer’s disease research, she pledged.
Her bid to rally Asian-American support also hit other expected issues: immigration reform, affordable access to higher education, voting rights.
“We are a country built by the hard work of generations of immigrants and we are stronger because of our diversity and our openness,” Clinton said. “I really wish I didn’t have to stand here today and say any of this, but we are hearing a lot of hateful rhetoric out there on the campaign trail, calling immigrants drug dealers and rapists, using offensive terms to describe the citizen children of immigrants, saying we should bar all Muslims from entering our country.”
“They forget a fundamental lesson about our great country: Being an open and tolerant society does not make us vulnerable, it is at the core of our strength,” she said to applause.
Vox analyzes the philosophical differences between each leading Democrat’s Wall Street Reform plan:
The way the Sanders-Clinton spat started was that months ago Sanders came out in favor of two very tough rules on traditional banks. First, he favors a return to an old part of a Depression-era banking law called Glass-Steagall, which was repealed in the 1990s and said that a bank can't be part of a company that offers non-bank financial services like insurance or investment banking. (If you're confused by the fact that investment banks are not banks, that is because the terminology is genuinely confusing — you're not missing anything.) Second, he favors a hard limit on the overall size to which a bank can grow.
Hillary Clinton, fitting her more moderate persona, declined to endorse either of those proposals. But she is also more of a policy wonk than Sanders, and her campaign has a bigger policy apparatus, so her financial regulation plan is considerably more comprehensive than Sanders's and addresses issues — like shadow banking — that are outside the scope of Sanders's proposals. That became Clinton's opportunity to argue that her plan is actually tougher than his — that he would, in effect, let shadow banks off the hook.
The trouble with AIG and Lehman wasn't that shadow activities pushed them to bankruptcy and imperiled their (small) traditional banking units. The problem was that their shadow activities pushed them to bankruptcy and imperiled the entire banking system.
Sanders's regulatory proposals would have touched these institutions, but they wouldn't have necessarily solved the problem or eliminated the need for shadow banks to be regulated as such.
All of this is to say that the Clinton camp's main argument against Sanders is that breaking up big banks is insufficient to the challenge of adequately regulating the financial system.
The Intercept reports that Clinton may oppose Obama’s initiative to upgrade the military’s nuclear weapons arsenal:
President Barack Obama has stunned critics by embarking on an aggressive effort to upgrade the military’s nuclear weapons program, including requests to buy 12 new missile submarines, up to 100 new bombers, and 400 land-based missiles, along with upgraded storage and development sites.
The decision has been called the greatest expansion of nuclear weapons since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Clinton’s comments came in response to a question after a Des Moines campaign event from Kevin Rutledge, [who] asked the former secretary of state as she left the event on Monday: “Would you oppose plans to spend a trillion dollars on an entire new generation of nuclear weapons systems that will enrich military contractors and set off a new global arms race?”
“Yeah, I’ve heard about that,” she responded. “I’m going to look into that. It doesn’t make sense to me.”
If Clinton indeed adopts a position rejecting the new nuclear weapons program, it would be a dramatic break from the hawks and the interests of the defense contracting industry — much more so than any other national security policy she has described so far.
Clinton is drawing key distinctions between her competitors in both parties on the issue of paid leave.

The Huffington Post reports:
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Thursday offered new details about her plan to make sure all workers can take time off, with pay, in order to care for a newborn or sick relative.
In so doing, she drew two contrasts -- a small one with Democratic rival Bernie Sanders, who would finance his own paid leave proposal differently, and a big one with the Republican presidential candidates, who wouldn’t guarantee paid leave at all.
Clinton's proposal closely resembles a bill that’s been circulating on Capitol Hill, sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.).
But Clinton’s proposal differs from the bill in one crucial way. In order to finance the replacement wages that workers would get, the Gillibrand-DeLauro bill would impose a small payroll tax, of 0.4 percent, that employers and employees would split evenly.  Clinton has criticized that approach repeatedly because it would mean higher taxes on lower- and middle-income workers. Instead, she has said, government should finance the new benefit by imposing new taxes on only the wealthiest Americans. Clinton says it’s a matter of fairness, since incomes for the wealthy have been rising quickly, but wages for the middle class have been stagnant.
But the real significance of Clinton’s proposal is probably what it portends for the general election -- and beyond.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the only Republican presidential candidate to address the issue formally, has said he’d offer small tax breaks to companies that offer paid leave -- an approach unlikely to have much impact, except perhaps to help well-off workers. On the whole, Republicans have said they oppose paid leave guarantees, arguing that such regulations and programs make it harder for businesses to operate and end up hurting the economy.
Forbes has an in-depth look at Clinton’s Autism Works Initiative:
Clinton’s new plan doesn’t characterize autism with words like “cure,” “epidemic,” “disease,” “crisis” or “suffer.” She even uses “disorder” only once, in giving the official name of the condition, and never mentions “cause.” The first section covers screening and awareness but emphasizes capturing underserved, underdiagnosed populations such as African American and Latino children and even mentions a need to better capture women and girls who are autistic. I’ve never seen a candidate do that before, and it shows that someone on Clinton’s staff did some serious homework on this one.
An entire section on education focuses not on curative measures or restricted classrooms but on the right to safely attend school, including language around abuse and use of restraints and protecting autistic children from bullying in school. Clinton even notes that it’s a violation of an autistic child’s rights when the “solution” to bullying is to remove the child from the general classroom to a restricted environment. She promises to ensure that “the U.S. Department of Education enforces the strong guidance that has been issued to states and school districts that students with disabilities, including autism, must be protected from bullying and allowed to remain in their classrooms.”
And then comes something I’ve never, ever seen emphasized in any such policy statement and certainly not from a presidential candidate: An entire section devoted to employment for autistic adults and addressing their needs. She notes the federal rights of people with disabilities to live in the community, not in institutions. She references employment—real employment, jobs joined to autistic people through partnerships with “hundreds” of private and public employers.  “This initiative, which will bring together leaders in secondary and post-secondary education as well as in the private sector and will draw on insights from social scientists as well as non-profit institutions, will foster new pathways to adulthood for individuals with autism so they can support themselves and build the lives they want.”
Again, language I have never seen in a policy statement from any candidate or politician or even the nation’s largest and most high-profile autism organization that claims it’s time to listen. Those 10 words are a turning point, phrasing that places the emphasis on what autistic people want. Indeed, the language throughout this section comes closer to presuming competence than any I can recall having seen in this kind of context.

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